Just like a team almost every year is a pleasant surprise, another is an unpleasant one: It falls dramatically short of expectations.
Think of Arizona State in 2008, which tumbled from nationally ranked to 5-7. Or California in 2009, which looked like a national title contender early in the season but ended up 8-5.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to be disappointing.
Oregon and Stanford are expected to be top-10 teams, ones that could get into the national title hunt. If one or the other ends up with three or four losses, well that's a big disappointment.
Arizona State is expected to break through in the South Division this season, which coach Dennis Erickson might need in order to keep his job. Three or four losses wouldn't be a disaster, but mediocrity or worse might feel that way for hopeful Sun Devils fans.
Utah also could disappoint, and not just its fans. The Utes in some ways carry the non-AQ flag into an AQ conference. If they immediately compete for the South Division title, then most will see that as validation for the non-AQs. And if they lose six or seven games, it will have the opposite effect. Further, Utes fans are used to winning. It will be a hard fall if their team gets pushed around.
Washington does not face stratospheric expectations, but its fans are hopeful that the program is going in the right direction under Steve Sarkisian, which is in reverse of the horrible and surprisingly prolonged tumble the Huskies took after going to the Rose Bowl following the 2000 season. If the Huskies crater after the departure of QB Jake Locker, then folks in Seattle will be a bit unhappy.
So what's your take?